Distinguished Green Oscar awardee, Dr Purnima Devi Barman, who also won the Nari Shakti Puraskar, has recently been conferred the World Female Ranger Award 2022 by the international organisation, How Many Elephants. Dedicated to recognising exemplary conservation work and service, the World Female Ranger Award honours female wildlife rangers around the globe.
Known internationally for her conservation efforts, Dr Barman dedicated her life to saving Greater Adjutant Storks (Locally called Hargila), and gradually formed an army of women to save the species. The image of the bird became a cultural identity through her and her teammates’ consistent efforts.
The team also developed the world’s first artificial breeding platform for chicks, which allows them to hatch safely and address the issue of shrinking habitats faced by birds. Purnima believes her association of positive festivities with the rare stork has contributed to its pride and revival.
“I’m humbled, honoured, and excited to be receiving the World Female Ranger Award 2022. I convey my humble gratitude for recognising the need for protecting endangered Assam’s Hargila and similar species. My acceptance of this award and honour would not be complete without acknowledging the ground breaking work by courageous women rangers and eco-guards from all over the world. Bringing women to the forefront in conservation movements can create miracles as our Hargila Army has done. I hope we can work together towards more gender equity along with environmental sustainability. There are many challenges still and we are determined to face them and win through” stated, Dr Barman.
Hargila Army founder Dr Purnima Devi Barman is a wildlife biologist with Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org), one of the leading biodiversity conservation organisations of India. In order to combat the sudden decline in stork populations in her area, she even interrupted her PhD studies. Purnima has not only introduced effective monitoring and management of these nests, but also changed the view of storks from a nuisance to a source of pride for locals.
Last year, Holly Budge launched World Female Ranger Week (June 23-30) alongside her pioneering initiative, How Many Elephants. Holly and her team have identified over 5500 female rangers around the world. Holly says, “We are delighted to give recognition to Purnima through this award, plus a grant kindly sponsored by the Globe Foundation. She is an inspirational woman making tangible real-world impact; Protecting wildlife, uplifting communities and empowering women.”